Our festival credo – “Bridging Cultures. Meeting Minds.” – compels us to secure films that speak to honest dialogue and interaction, and our Cultural Bridge Panel is designed for the passionate support or challenge of those ideals. DIFF 2007 featured the participation of writer  Paulo Coelho as Keynote Speaker, and a panel including Danny Glover, Rayda Jacobs and Gisèle Khoury, moderated by Cameron Bailey.

Paulo Coelho

Was born in Rio de Janeiro, and is known as a journalist, theatrical director, activist, pilgrim, spiritual seeker, mystical adherent, philanthropist, journalist and world renowned novelist, whose books, including The Alchemist and The Gift, have sold more than 75 million copies and been published in 150 countries.

Danny Glover

Blazed to stardom in the Lethal Weapon series, and has given star turns in Dreamgirls, Poor Boy’s Game, Shooter and, most recently, Honeydripper – one of two films screening in honour of his DI FF Lifetime Achievement Award.  Glover has campaigned for human rights in Namibia and Ethiopia, as well as for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

Rayda Jacobs

Was born in Cape Town and lived in Toronto  from 1968 to 1995. Her novel Confessions of a Gambler won the Herman Charles Bosman Award for fiction, and the film adaptation, which she wrote, co-directed and stars in, had its World Premiere at DIFF 2007.

Gisele Khoury

Was born in Beirut and studied media and journalism at the Lebanese University, Beirut. From 1986 to 2001, she produced cultural programmes and presented political talk-shows at Lebanese TV channel LBCI. She now presents and reports for current affairs programmes on Al Arabiya and has interviewed leading political figures, including Yasser Arafat and Hosni Moubarak. 

Cameron Bailey

Was born in London and raised in Barbados and Toronto. He is a senior programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, reviews films for Toronto’s Now magazine and is a regular radio and television film reviewer in Canada. In 2004, he completed a video essay, Hotel Saudade, which premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

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